603.868.3212    |              |    Emergency Service

What to do about PFC’s in my home’s water?

News reports about PFC’s being discovered in both public and private wells at several locations well above the levels in the EPA’s Provisional Health Advisory have raised the level of concern among many home owners about the potential for such contaminants to be in their own wells. Recent reports of similar findings in surface waters and streams have heightened such concerns.

PFC’s, also referred to as perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), include a number of perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAA). Two of these, perfluorooctanic acid (PFOA) and perfluoroctane sulfate (PFOS) occupy most of the media attention, and are the specific subject of the Health Advisory. PFC’s have the useful property of repelling water and oils, making them very appealing to various industries. They are found in such diverse products as stain-resistant carpet and fabrics, waterproofing for fabrics and leather, some non-stick surfaces, and fire-fighting foam.

Both PFOA and PFOS have been shown to be widely distributed in the environment. They are persistent and do not degrade easily; they are also water soluble and are commonly detected in drinking water sources. The pathways for PFC’s to reach groundwater sources are many, and the understanding of the subject is very much an emerging science. They are associated with numerous health effects in humans, and developmental effects in infants.

How do I know if these contaminants are in my water?

PFC’s are not detectable through ordinary senses: taste, odor, color. They must be identified through testing by a qualified laboratory. The relevant concentrations are extremely small, in parts per trillion; that’s about one nano-gram per liter of water (ng/l). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed Provisional Health Advisories for PFOA and PFOS at 70 ppt total, and are currently developing Lifetime (chronic exposure) Advisories.

So, I ran the test and I have some in my water – what do I do (if anything)?

We subscribe generally to the idea that guidelines developed by the EPA, and by extension State agencies, represent the best resource available to the public for evaluating the health risks associated with various contaminants. We do not, as a practice, make recommendations to treat contaminants that do not exceed EPA guidelines.

That said, we recognize that the maximum contaminant levels (MCL’s) for most health related contaminants represent a risk/cost/benefit assessment, and not a point below which no threat exists. Our belief is that each home owner should consider all available sources of information and weigh the reliability of each one. Essentially, it is the homeowner’s decision as to what level of contaminant is acceptable to them, and we understand that some may want to treat even for very low levels considered under the EPA limit. We are fully prepared to provide solutions to treat the issue.

How can PFC’s be removed from my water?

The treatment industry has been exploring a wide array of treatment alternatives. The consensus (and our own view as well) is that for residential treatment applications, there are two approaches appropriate for most scenarios:

  • Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) is the go-to choice for both whole-house and point-of-use (drinking and cooking only) solutions. We follow the EPA/DES recommendation to use a pair of treatment vessels in series with a testing port between them to detect contaminant breakthrough while the second vessel is still effective. Size and specific choice of GAC type are application specific.
  • Reverse Osmosis Systems, which also include activated carbon elements in the treatment path, can be an option where there can be an additional collateral benefit, such as salt reduction, nitrate, or arsenic remediation.

So what’s the bottom line?

Any decision as to what to do about PFC’s in your water source has to start with the question “are they in there?” The tests involved are not inexpensive, so start by investigating whether your location is within a known contamination source or threatened by one. State resources, e.g. New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES), may have that information; in some cases they may provide the testing if you are part of an area they are monitoring.

If, however, you “just have to know” then by all means have the testing done. One cost effective source we have located is Absolute Resources in Portsmouth, NH.

If you uncover a situation that merits treatment, for reasons satisfactory to you, call us at 603-868-3212! We will be happy to evaluate it, and recommend a cost effective solution suited to your needs.

Advance Pump & Filter Co. 10 Calef Highway, Lee, NH 03861

Iron Water

Each water system is unique and has different needs. Please contact our office at 603-868-3212 with specific questions about your water delivery and filtration system.  

In the soils of New Hampshire and Maine, it is extremely common to find minerals that contain iron. Iron is the fourth most common element in the Earth’s crust , accounting for over 5% of its total mass. It makes sense that iron is present in many aquifers and explains why a lot of homeowners are seeing the negative effects of iron being present in their water. From unsightly orange staining to low water pressure, iron can be a real problem. Luckily, we have tried and true solutions to remedy your iron water problems.  

This article goes over:

  • Why iron is a problem
  • The two common forms of iron
  • Solutions for iron
  • 6 benefits of treating iron

The problem 

The minerals associated with iron are not considered toxic. It’s regulated under the National Secondary Drinking Water Regulation which is a guideline for dealing with contaminants that may cause cosmetic effects (such as skin, hair, or tooth discoloration), or aesthetic effects (such as taste, odor, and color). The recommended limit for iron is 0.3 mg/l because at 0.3 you’ll start to see the cosmetic aesthetic effects of iron. 

Here are a few of the problems that iron water in your home can cause:

  • Low water pressure due to iron build up in piping
  • Brittleness and orange discoloration of the hair
  • Orange staining in sinks, bathtubs and toilets
  • Discoloration of laundry
  • Decreased functionality of appliances and water fixtures
  • Metallic taste 

What are the two most common forms of iron found in well water?

We have been treating iron water in New Hampshire & Maine for over 43 years and we see homes that have a small amount of iron present in their water and we see homes that have so much iron that it looks like tomato soup coming out of their well. And the funny part is that these two situations can occur in the same neighborhood. It all depends on where your well is located in the aquifer.  

When considering forms of treatment we want to know what form of iron we are dealing with.  We want to know this because certain treatment methods work more effectively with specific forms of iron. 

Ferrous iron- Even water that runs clear out of your faucet can have iron present, in the form of Ferrous iron. It is invisible to the naked eye until it becomes oxidized by the air, or another form of oxidizer like a cleaning product. This is why you may not see an orange tinge in your running water but after you use the sink, toilet, or tub, the water that’s left behind and sticking to the tubs service through adhesion will eventually evaporate and leave behind the iron minerals which will turn orange through oxidation when exposed to the air. These left over oxidized minerals are what cause the orange staining in/on your fixtures.  

Ferric iron-  is oxidized iron, and as a result insoluble, meaning that it cannot be dissolved again. When we usually think of iron minerals in water we think of ferric iron. The water containing ferric iron is generally orange in color and you may be able to see actual iron chunks in it. 

Now, iron can be present in more forms than ferrous and ferric but for the sake of this article we’re just gonna to talk about these two forms. 

Solutions for iron

Filtering iron out of your well water can be a bit of a tricky process. Sometimes, it’s as simple as using a cartridge filter but most of the time we need more robust whole house systems to effectively treat iron. 

Two of the most common ways to remove iron is by using an aeration system, or a water softening system. We also find that some homes with high iron levels need a combination of treatment systems because we need pretreatment or post treatment to effectively, and efficiently treat the well water. Below are some examples of iron treatment systems. 

What are the 6 Benefits of removing iron from your well water? 

  • Better looking and tasting water
  • Eliminate the risk of pipes being clogged by iron
  • Protect hair from iron staining and brittleness
  • Dramatically decrease the amount of cleaning for toilets, tubs, and sinks
  • Softer and cleaner looking laundry
  • Increase the lifespan of appliances and water fixtures

Every water source is different and may require different forms of treatment especially when dealing with iron. We always recommend having an onsite evaluation and water test. If you have any questions about iron in your water, or water treatment, please give us a call at 603-868-3212.

Water Softener

Advance Smart Water Softener

Each water system is unique and has different needs. Please contact our office at 603-868-3212 with specific questions about your well and filtration system. 

An overwhelming 85% of the U.S.A. has hard water. The minerals that make up hard water are not considered toxic; that is, they do not cause harmful health effects but water hardness can cause major problems for your home and daily living. Humans had been living with the problems of hard water since the beginning of our relationship with water but it wasn’t until the early 1900’s when the “modern day” water softener was conceived. Water technology has significantly improved since then but the scientific thinking behind it has remained the same. 

This article will go over: 

  • What is a water softener is
  • What are the benefits of having a water softener
  • How does a water softener remove hardness from the water
  • How often should you be adding salt to the brine tank
  • Troubleshooting a water softener

What is a water softener?

 A water softener uses a cation exchange resin media to remove hardness from your water.  The beads are a plastic polymer material, specially formulated to grab on to specific chemical substances. The surface of the resin is pre-charged with salt ions. As hard water passes through the resin, the individual beads will release the salt ions and exchange them for the hardness ions. This process is called an ion exchange.

WQA Knowledge Base Diagram

  A water softening system features a fiberglass tank that holds the resin beads, a softening valve on top of the fiberglass tank that directs the flow of water, a riser tub with a collector/distributor that is connected to the valve and a brine tank that houses salt/brine solution. The brine solution is used to regenerate the resin beads. A system may also need pretreatment in order to protect the resin bed and ensure its effectiveness in removing water hardness.

What are the benefits of having a water softener?

  • Makes richer lather while bathing or showering
  • Reduces the amount of soap and synthetic detergents used
  • Prevents unsightly soap scum rings in the bathtub, stains and chalky deposits on hot and cold water fixtures
  • Dishwashers, in areas having very hard water, can cut detergent use by more than 50 percent after softening [Water Quality Association (2011) Softened Water Benefits Study. Lisle: WQA]
  • Reduces the build-up of scale deposits in all water-using appliances and hot water pipes
  • Prevents hard-to-remove spots and streaks on glassware and dishes
  • Prevents soap curd and detergent deposits on fabric
  • Prevents dull colors and graying or yellowing of white fabrics
  • In washing machines, can reduce detergent use by 50 percent and save energy by washing in 60ºF cold softened water instead of 100ºF hard hot water, achieving the same or better stain removal and whiter clothes compared to results in hard water.

How does a water softener work?

As water flows through the softener resin bed, and a process called ionic exchange occurs. The Resin beads come pre-charged with salt ions, and because the resin has a higher affinity for hardness ions than for salt ions, the resin will release the salt ions into the effluent water and will grab onto the hardness ions within close proximity. Over time the bed will reach a capacity where the resin is no longer able to remove hardness from the water. The softening system then needs to go through a regeneration cycle which will remove the hardness ions from the resin and will recharge the resin with salt ions. Softeners can either regenerate on a timed system, a gallon metered system, or a combination of the two. A full regeneration is accomplished through a series of cycles controlled by the softener valve and generally takes an hour and a half. 

Fresh Resin Media Vs Fouled Resin Media

The regeneration cycles of a water softener:

Backwash #1– The control valve directs a high flow of water in the opposite direction of the normal flow of the softener. For a downflow water softener, the backwash sends water rushing from the bottom of the tank to the top. This evacuates any suspended solids to the drain line and loosens the resin bed. 

Slow Brine Rinse– Control valve draws brine solution from the brine tank and permeates it through the resin bed. As this happens, salt ions overwhelm the resin beads and begin replacing the remaining hardness ions on the resin beads. . 

Backwash #2– The system will then go through a 2nd backwash which flushes out the final remaining hardness molecules and a good portion of the brine solution. 

Rapid Rinse– The control valve directs a large flow of water from the top of the tank to the bottom. This final rinse flushes out the rest of the brine solution and packs down the media bed before the system is put into service. 

Brine Fill– The softening valve will direct water to refill the brine tank. This water will then mix with the salt in the brine tank which in a short period of time, will create a brine solution which will then be used for the next regeneration process. 

A regeneration should occur when water is not being used. This is because the valve will bypass the system during a regeneration so any water being called to the house will be untreated. 2:00 am is a common time to schedule a regeneration because it is generally a time when no one is using water. Regardless, we can schedule the regeneration to meet your lifestyle needs.

How often should you be adding salt to the brine tank?

We generally find that softener owners will add a 40 lb – 50 lb bag of salt to the brine tank once per month. 

The amount of salt your water softening system uses in any given month depends on the amount of hardness in your water, your water usage, and your system design. Regardless, we suggest checking your brine tank salt level once a month. Try to keep salt above the water level and try not to fill the brine tank over ¾ of the way full. 

Basic Troubleshooting

If you are are noticing that you are getting iron staining or hardness build up, you will want to check the following:

  • Confirm that there is salt in the brine tank. Without a briney solution, the system cannot regenerate properly. 
  • Confirm that the time on the softener is correct. If the timer is not matching the current time of day, then your system may be regenerating when water is being used. 
  • See if there are any error codes on the softeners display screen (this is relevant for computerized systems.)

If everything seems to be in order, we will then need to schedule an onsite visit to determine if your raw water signature has changed or if there is a mechanical malfunction somewhere in your water treatment system. 

Water softeners are one of the most common forms of water treatment in the United States. They are tried and true. It is a piece of water technology that a homeowner benefits from every time water is used in the home. A water softener can be a valuable investment because it can help to protect your appliances, improve the function of your home, and can save you money in the long run. 


Every water source is different and may require different forms of treatment. We always recommend having an onsite evaluation and water test. If you have any questions about water softeners, or would like to schedule a no charge eval,  please give us a call at 603-868-3212.

Hard Water

Each water system is unique and has different needs. Please contact our office at 603-868-3212 with specific questions about your water delivery and filtration system.

Hardness build up on shower head

Do you ever deal with white spotting on your glasses? Do you find white scale build up on shower heads and fixtures? Are you having to prematurely replace your hot water heater?  If you are, then you may be dealing with hard water.

This article goes over:

  • What hard water is
  • How common it is
  • Why it’s a problem
  • How to fix it

What is water hardness? 

Hard water is water that contains invisible minerals that are dissolved in it. Elements found in water that possess the property of hardness are calcium and magnesium and are present in significant amounts in the form of bicarbonates which are soluble in water. No natural water supply is completely free of water hardness.

How common is hard water? 

Water in 85% of the United States is so hard it should be softened to be of maximum usefulness in both residential and commercial/industrial applications of cleaning, rinsing, heating, and energy production.

Why is it a problem?

The minerals that contribute to hardness (generally calcium and magnesium ions) are not toxic; that is, they do not cause harmful health effects. 

Hard water is a problem when it is used for cleaning, heating, and other types of industrial processes. The most noticeable effects of hard water are scale build up on fixtures, faucets and shower doors, but it can also decrease the effectiveness and efficiency of washing machines, dishwashers, RO membranes, water heaters, etc.

Solutions for Hard Water.

The most effective way to treat water hardness is by using a water softener.  A water softener uses a resin media to remove hardness from your water. The resin beads are coated with salt ions and when hard water is introduced to the resin, the bead releases these salt ions and grabs onto the hardness ions. This process is called an ion exchange.

  A water softening system features a fiberglass tank that holds the resin beads, a softening valve that directs the flow of water, and a brine tank that houses salt/brine solution that is used to regenerate the resin beads. A system may also need pretreatment in order to protect the resin bed and ensure its effectiveness in removing hardness.

Every water source is different and may require different forms of treatment. We always recommend having an onsite evaluation and water test. If you have any questions about water hardness, or water softeners, please give us a call at 603-868-3212.

Well Water Pressure Switch

Well Water Pressure Switch

Each water system is unique and has different needs. Please contact our office at 603-868-3212 with specific questions about your water delivery and filtration system. 

If you live on a property with a well you may have a water delivery system that utilizes a pressure switch to regulate when your well pump turns on and off. 

This article will go over:

  • What is a Well Water Pressure Switch?
  • How does it work?
  • What is a Low Water Cut Off Switch?
  • Troubleshooting a Low Water Cut Off switch
  • Basic maintenance

What is a well water pressure switch?

A pressure switch is a mechanical component most commonly found at the tank tee of the pressure tank. This switch senses pressure in your home’s plumbing system by utilizing a small diaphragm and spring system that causes the switch to turn the well pump on and off. These switches can be set to different cut in/off pressure readings depending on the system design. Most commonly we see pressure switches set to a 30/50 psi or 40/60 psi pressure cycle.

Pressure tank with complete tank tee utilizing a pressure switch.

How does a well water pressure switch work?

Once the water pressure drops to the cut in pressure (Commonly, 30 psi – 40 psi), the switch will engage and cause the contacts in the switch to close, completing the connection from the electricity in your home to the well pump. This engagement is what allows for your well pump to kick on and send water to the pressure tank. 

At this point in the cycle, the contacts will stay open until the pressure switch reaches its shut off pressure (Commonly, 50 psi – 60 psi). If you are using a large amount of water, your well pump may not be able to achieve shut off pressure while you are using water. In this instance you will be at the mercy of how much water your well and your pump can deliver. If you are using a small amount of water, your pump may be able to achieve that shut off pressure because the amount of water the system is able to deliver exceeds the amount of water being used at that given time. 

Once you stop using water, the system will deliver water to the pressure tank until it reaches the cut off pressure (Commonly, 50 psi – 60 psi) and the system will remain at that pressure until water is used again. 

This cyclical pattern of drawing the water in the pressure tank down to the cut on pressure and filling it up to the cut off pressure is what’s happening as you use water throughout the day. 

This technology is not very sophisticated but it gets the job done. If you’d like to learn about our systems that utilize a pressure sensor, and are more robust, give us a call at 603-868-3212 or take a look at our blog post about Constant Pressure Systems!

What is a Low Water Cut Off switch?

A low water cut off switch is a specific type of switch that cuts power off to the pump once the system drops below the desired cut on pressure. It is recognizable because the switch has a lever on its side which is used to force the contacts together when the switch has tripped. The reason for this design is to keep the well pump or jet pump from running constantly if the water level drops below the pump or if the pump is unable to provide enough force to deliver water to the home. This can save the pump from burning out and can prevent unnecessary use of electricity. 

Low Water Cut Off Switch

Troubleshooting a Low Water Cut Off switch.

Let’s say you have been doing a lot of lawn watering and all of a sudden you have no water. 

  • First see if you have a low water cut off switch. You’ll be able to tell this if you see a lever on the side of the switch. 
  • If you do, turn your pump off at the breaker and let the well rest for an hour or two. 
  • After an hour or two, turn the well pump breaker back on, and then turn the lever at the pressure switch to the start position. Turning the lever will force the contacts together, sending electricity to the pump. 
  • You may need to hold it in the start position for a couple of seconds until enough water pressure is sent to the pressure tank to prevent the switch from tripping again. 
  • Use water sparingly for the rest of the day. This will give the well a chance to recover.

If water does not return to the home, you may need to let the well rest for a longer period of time or the problem may not be somewhere else in the water delivery system. Give us a call at 603-868-3212 and we can talk you through some more out of water troubleshooting. 

Basic maintenance

It is important to have a functioning pressure switch because it is the brain of your water delivery systems. It is important to note that there is live electricity within the switch. Shut off power to the well pump before interacting with the pressure switch.  

-The switch should not show any major signs of corrosion or charring around the contacts.

-The contacts should have adequate spacing between each other when in the open position. Over time, components can loosen and contacts can get closer together causing arcing when in the open position. This can be a potential fire hazard. 

-Perhaps the biggest piece of advice is to confirm that you have adequate air pressure in your pressure tank. The pressure tank, when empty, should have a psi reading that is roughly 2 psi below the cut in pressure pressure ( Commonly 28 – 38 psi). After turning power off to the well pump, you can take the cover off of your pressure switch (Danger! Live electricity within the switch if power is not turned off) you’ll be able to see the cut in and cut out pressure labeled inside of the switch. If a pressure tank has inadequate air pressure or fails, then it can cause short cycling which can then burn out a pressure switch and/or burn up the well pump. 

This technology is not very sophisticated but it gets the job done. If you’d like to learn about our systems that utilize a pressure sensor, and are more robust, give us a call at 603-868-3212 or take a look at our blog post about Constant Pressure Systems!

Each water system and family has different needs to please feel free to call us at 603-868-3212 with any questions about pressure tanks, water supply, or water treatment. 

Arsenic in Well Water

Water quality can change over time. For this reason, we recommend testing for arsenic every 3-5 years.

If you have an Arsenic Removal System, annual testing is recommended to confirm that levels haven’t changed and that media quality is still good and is removing arsenic from the water.

If you live in New Hampshire (especially Seacoast NH) or Southern Maine, you may have arsenic in your well water and not even be aware of it. Arsenic is odorless, tasteless and colorless, and can only be detected by water testing. Luckily, modern water treatment technology has given us the tools to deal with this known carcinogen that is present in wells throughout New England.

Image courtesy of NHDES

As you can tell by the map, New Hampshire and Maine are regions of the United States that have prevalent levels of arsenic in their ground water supplies.

This article will go over:

  • What is Arsenic and how did it get into your well water
  • Health effects of drinking arsenic
  • What are the regulations surrounding arsenic and well water
  • How to treat for arsenic

What is Arsenic and how did it get into your well?

Arsenic is a natural component of the earth’s crust and is widely distributed throughout the environment. When a well is drilled, it taps into an aquifer. The water in this aquifer has been soaking in bedrock for a substantial amount of time. And during this time, the water can absorb minerals present in the bedrock, like arsenic.

Example of a common residential well http://www.mcmullendrilling.com/home.html

Arsenic in water is most commonly found as either: 

As(III), arsenite as H 3 AsO 3 and H 2 AsO 3 –    or     

As(V), arsenate as H 2 AsO 4 – and HAsO 4 2-

The concentration of arsenic III & V in water can be important to know because it can determine an arsenic treatment systems design.  At the end of the day, we want to design a system that will be as effective and efficient as possible. 

Health effects of drinking arsenic.

The toxicity of arsenic has been recognized since antiquity.  It has famously been referred to as the “poison of kings” or “king of poisons”. The elements infamy grew during the Middle Ages as a nearly untraceable form of murder. Most wells do not reach these toxic levels. Long term exposure to arsenic has been linked to increased risk of lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and reproductive disorders.

What are the regulations surrounding arsenic and well water?

We have an evolving understanding of arsenic and our policies surrounding it have changed over time. The United States Department of Environmental Protection Agency states that we should always strive for a Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) of 0 arsenic in drinking water. With that being said it is understood that this cannot always be realistic so federal Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCL’s) have been set to 0.010 mg/l or 10 ppb. 

Due to the prevalence of arsenic in New Hampshire’s drinking water, and thanks to studies done by Dartmouth University, New Hampshire has created legislation that requires arsenic levels to be down to 0.05 mg/l or 5 ppb.

How to treat arsenic in your drinking water:

The first step is a lab test of your water.  Each well, water profile, and situation is different and if arsenic is detected in your water, we will recommend options to suit your particular needs.  

Recent advances in water treatment technology have allowed us to effectively remove arsenic and there are a number of different treatment methods:

Most of our Arsenic Removal Systems have a Dual Tank design.  This is the safest and offers the most confidence that Arsenic will be removed even when the media starts to deteriorate over time. When the first tank of media starts to get spent, you have the backup of the second tank to remove the Arsenic until the first tank gets swapped out.  Annual testing tells you when this needs to happen.

Our most popular is the Point-Of-Use (POU) Arsenic Treatment System. This system is both cost effective and efficient because it only treats water on the cold side of the kitchen sink and a fridge ice maker (we can apply this system to other types of fixtures like pot fillers). 

Another option is a Whole House Arsenic Treatment System which would treat water that is used for ALL water in the house including toilets, showers, etc.  Like the POU System, this whole house option utilizes a lead-lag tank design that adds an element of protective redundancy. 

Please give Advance Pump and FIlter a call at 603-868-3212 or email at info@advanceh2o.com if you have any questions about arsenic or would like to schedule a water test and/or free site evaluation.

Water quality can change over time. 

For this reason, we recommend testing for arsenic every 3-5 years.

If you have an Arsenic Removal System, annual testing is recommended to confirm that levels haven’t changed and that media quality is still good and is removing arsenic from the water. 

Pressure Tanks

Each water system is unique and has different needs. Please contact our office at 603-868-3212 with specific questions about your water delivery and filtration system.

If you live at a property with a well, you’ve probably noticed the blue metallic tank in your basement, crawl space or utility closet and thought to yourself “Hmmm…I wonder what that is?” Well, my friend, that tank may very well be your pressure tank. 

In this blog post we will go over:

  • What a pressure tank is
  • What role it plays in your homes water system
  • Basic maintenance
  • When to replace it

What is a Pressure tank?

A pressure tank can come in all different shapes and sizes. They can be small or  large, made of steel or fiberglass, and can be blue, gray, any color really. The important thing is that the tank is able to hold water under pressure. Within this tank is a rubber bladder, Where the water is stored.  Above this bladder is a space for compressed air. This compressed air generally has a pressure reading either 28 psi or 38 psi depending on your systems design. These tanks are intended to hold onto this air pressure and keep it at a constant. 

What role does a pressure tank play in your home?

If you live at a property with a well then you most likely have a water pumping system that utilizes a pressure tank. Below is a sketch of a well with a submersible well pump. 

In normal circumstances, your home’s plumbing is pressurized because the air in the pressure tank  is pressing against the bladder filled with water and this force is transferred to all of the water fixtures in your home. As you open a faucet, water is instantly sent to your sink because of the pressure being applied to the bladder. As you use water the pressure in the tank begins to drop. 

If your tank was left to its own devices, this applied force will eventually empty the tank completely and you would be left without any water.  This is where the pressure switch comes in. 

A pressure switch is an electrical component  that sends power to your pump when needed.  It does this by utilizing a small diaphragm and spring system that senses pressure.

Once the water pressure drops to the cut in pressure (Commonly, 30 psi – 40 psi), the switch will engage and cause the contacts in the switch to close, completing the connection from the electricity in your home to the well pump. This engagement is what allows for your well pump to kick on and send water to the pressure tank. 

At this point in the cycle, the contacts will stay open until the pressure switch reaches its shut off pressure (Commonly, 50 psi – 60 psi). If you are using a large amount of water, your well pump may not be able to achieve shut off pressure while you are using water. In this instance you will be at the mercy of how much water your well and your pump can deliver. If you are using a small amount of water, your pump may be able to achieve that shut off pressure because the amount of water the system is able to deliver exceeds the amount of water being used at that given time. 

Once you stop using water, the system will deliver water to the pressure tank until it reaches the cut off pressure (Commonly, 50 psi – 60 psi) and the system will remain at that pressure until water is used again. 

This cyclical pattern of drawing the water in the pressure tank down to the cut on pressure and filling it up to the cut off pressure is what’s happening as you use water throughout the day. 

This technology is not very sophisticated but it gets the job done. If you’d like to learn about our systems that utilize more technology, and are more robust, take a look at our blog post about Constant Pressure Systems!

Basic Maintenance: 

There isn’t a whole lot when it comes to maintenance for a pressure tank. It is more of a practice of monitoring. It is important to monitor the condition of the tank because a failed tank can lead to a dead pump or flooding in a basement.

Air pressure- To see how much air is in the tank, the first thing you need to do is drain down the system. If you don’t do this then you will just be reading the overall system pressure. At the top of the tank there will be a cap covering a nipple. This is a testing port where you can use an air gauge or tire gauge to see the air pressure in the tank.

If you take the cover off of your pressure switch (Danger! Live electricity within the switch) you’ll be able to see the cut in and cut out pressure labeled inside of the switch. Typically most systems are on a 30/50 or 40/60 cycle system. The air pressure in the pressure tank should be a few psi below the cut in pressure meaning a 30/50 cycle system should have around 28 psi of air pressure and a 40/60 cycle system should have around 38 psi of air pressure. 

If the air pressure is below the desired amount, then the system will have to deliver more water to the pressure tank  in order to compensate for the drop in air. This then causes the bladder to expand potentially leading to premature failure. An example of this failure is when the bladder ruptures and water is able to get above the bladder resulting in what we call a waterlogged tank. This causes the system to be unable to regulate the pressure and the system will begin to short cycle. 

Visual inspection- make sure that your pressure tank is not showing any obvious signs of degradation. If you have a stainless steel tank you may start to notice areas of rust after a period of time. Eventually the rust can eat away at the steel and will cause an opening resulting in a blow out. Below are some pictures of tanks that have failed due to rust. 

When to replace: 

A failed pressure tank is the quickest way to kill a well pump and a tank that lets go of water can easily flood a basement. This is why it is so important for homeowners to know when to replace the tank. 

There are 5 reasons to replace a pressure tank

  1. Showing signs of rusting that may compromise the integrity of the tank
  2. Tank is between 10-15 years old
  3. Significant loss of air pressure
  4. Improperly sized tank
  5. Waterlogged tank

Pressure tanks play a vital role in a home’s water delivery and water treatment system. By better understanding what a pressure tank is and how it plays a role in your home’s water system will help you to  prevent problems from happening and address problems mwht your system. 

Each water system and family has different needs to please feel free to call us at 603-868-3212 with any questions about pressure tanks, water supply, or water treatment. 

What Type of Salt Should I Use for My Water Softener?

We get asked his question a lot and we can understand the confusion surrounding it. In this post we will go over some of the basics softener salt and hopefully answer some frequently asked questions.

4 Rules of Water Softener Salt

Rule #1- Do not use “Rock Salt”

Rule #2- Whether that bag is yellow, green, or blue- Any salt is better than no salt.

Rule #3- Once you choose a bag do your best to stick with it.

Rule #4- If you choose to switch then wait until your salt level is low.

Types of Salts Explained

Coarse Solar Salt (Blue Bag)- This is one of the most common types of salt found. This is the type of salt the we recommend because we find that it can be easily found in a variety of stores like Lowes, Home Depot, etc. This type of salt is the most basic form and we tend to not have as many problems with bridging in brine tanks with it. This type of salt is generally the most affordable form of salt as well.

Pellets (Yellow Bag)- The other most common type of salt is the pellet salt. This type of salt has been cleaned and processed into a pellet shape. Pellets can typically run higher in cost. In some cases of low water usage or infrequent regeneration scenarios, pellets can lose their structure and become mushed and may not dissolve. They can also dry out and harden. When this happens, we generally recommend customer to use the coarse solar salt (blue bag).

Rust/Iron (Green Bag)- The green bags are advertised for water with iron or manganese content. Green bags are pellets with an additive, either sodium-bisulfate or citric acid, which will help dissolve and further clean stubborn iron and manganese from the softening resin. Green bags will be on the higher side of salt cost. We personally find that using a Res-up feeder that drip feeds a cleaning solution can be a more effective and efficient way add resin cleaning products to the backwash process.

Potassium Chloride (Salt Alternative)- A water softener removes hardness from the water by utilizing an ion exchange system which leaches a miniscule amount of salt into the treated water supply. If you wish to avoid the sodium, you can use potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride. However, there are some things to consider.

-Potassium Chloride is found to be 30% less effective in regenerating your softener depending on water quality and softener settings.

-Potassium chloride has been found to harden and mush up with temperature swings in mechanical rooms.

-Potassium chloride is considerably more expensive when compared to other forms of salt.

Block Salt– Salt blocks may be a good option for those who are un able to lift 40-50 lb bags of salt. They are not ideal though due to very little surface area of salt exposed to water resulting in weak brine concentrations.

If you have any questions, please give us a call at 6703-868-3212!

Let’s talk Constant Pressure Systems

I’ve been hearing about “Constant Pressure Systems”; what does that mean? What do they do?

In the context of a residential water supply system, “Constant Pressure” refers to a combination of well, pump and control components designed to provide water to the home at a pressure that remains close to a chosen “set-point”, e.g. 60 psi, regardless of the amount of water (flow rate) being required at any one time.

A conventional design uses a pump, a tank with an air pre-charge in it, and a simple pressure operated switch. When the pump operates, it does so at its full rated power to drive water into the tank until the rising pressure causes the switch to shut it off. As you continue to use water, the pressure falls back down to the point where the switch turns the pump back on for another run cycle. This “pressure spread” is designed to be 20 psi. Tanks must be large enough to allow the pump to run for long enough to dissipate the heat in the motor generated by each startup (ideally about one minute).

A constant pressure system replaces the simple switch with a control (commonly called a Variable Frequency Drive, or VFD) and pressure sensor that together work to operate the well pump over a range of speeds, but always just fast enough to maintain that set-point pressure at the flow you happen to be using at the moment. All this is done electronically, in real time. Below is a video that goes over the basics of VFD’s.

Why is this better?

In a nutshell, you get a stable pressure in the house, without the up and down cycling you experience with a conventional system. Many water using devices are happier that way; your shower, for example, but especially in-ground irrigation systems. But that’s just the beginning.

VFD controlled pumps use a 3-phase motor design (think industrial strength) that is inherently more efficient than single phase motor/starter designs. The control starts the motor “softly” to avoid the shock and heat inherent in the “full-on” start of a cycling system. Even better, the strategy of running “just equal to the demand” uses less power overall that the start/stop scheme. The reasons are complicated (maybe for a later blog) but in a nutshell, less power = less heat; less heat = less waste and less strain and wear on equipment. The net result is lower operating cost and better reliability.

For more information about the benefits of constant pressure systems and whether it could be right for you, call us at 603-868-3212 or visit us online at http://www.advancepumpandfilter.com/nh_pump_filter_constant_pressure_systems.php

DROUGHT MAY LEAD TO ELEVATED LEVELS OF NATURALLY OCCURING ARSENIC IN PRIVATE DOMESTIC WELLS

“A new U.S. Geological Survey study highlights the importance of homeowners testing their well water to ensure it is safe for consumption, particularly in drought-prone areas. The first-of-its-kind national-scale study of private well water, conducted in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, showed that drought may lead to elevated levels of naturally occurring arsenic and that the longer a drought lasts, the higher the probability of arsenic concentrations exceeding U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s standard for drinking water.”

“While the results suggest that drought will have a negative impact, the study cannot predict what might happen at an individual well, further highlighting the importance of testing.”

If you are interested in water testing, Please give us a call at 603-868-3212.

https://www.usgs.gov/news/drought-may-lead-elevated-levels-naturally-occurring-arsenic-private-domestic-wells